ALBANY, N.Y (NEWS10) — Not every state taxes unemployment, but now that the federal government says the first $10,200 of benefits will be tax-free, New York is one of the few that hasn’t decided whether or not its state taxes will also be exempt. Senator James Tedisco is sponsoring a bipartisan bill to follow the federal example.
“It says you giveth, please don’t taketh away,” Tedisco says in a Zoom call with NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.
Tedisco says after all the trouble New Yorkers had signing up for unemployment in 2020, taxing what little they have, to him, would just be cruel.
“You had difficulty fighting it, it was delayed, delayed, delayed, you finally got in. Now, pouring salt in the wound and saying, oh by the way after we send you this bridge, we’re going to tax you and take our money back,” Tedisco says. “It makes absolutely no sense to tax some of our most vulnerable in the population.”
Tax filing services also say the longer the government waits to make a decision, the bigger the headache for them.
“We have over 100 tax returns on hold. We haven’t even printed them, so that’s going to be a task in itself is us trying to play catch-up on top of all the other returns we still have coming in,” says Steve Miller, president of Miller’s Financial Solutions.
Both Miller and Sen. Tedisco say they’ve taken calls from New Yorker’s forced into dire situations by both unemployment and waiting for tax returns.
“A lot of people said that, we had to sell our house, and some individuals, believe it or not, said that they took my car away,” Tedisco recalls. “These are not singular or a few individual stories, there’s a lot of stories out there.”
“We do repeat business, so people come back every year. They rely on this money every year to come in on their tax returns, and when that money doesn’t come in, then everything is on hold,” Miller says.
As of Monday, the bill S5125A to amend New York State tax law is in committee and Tedisco says he believes it should be a no brainer.
“The federal government did the right thing, we should follow that course of action right now,” he says.